[photos: Bettina Strauss/The CW]
This episode was weird, even for Supernatural. In true, be careful what you wish for fashion, Supernatural has done something I’ve wanted them to do for a long time. They had an unequivocally good supernatural being on this week’s episode. Unfortunately, they became the victims in the case. What are they? Little kid’s imaginary friends. They are actually Zana, a helpful fairy of Romanian origin. Wikipedia says that they are akin to the Graces, or the Charites.
They didn’t have to make them good beings. Imaginary friends can be troublesome and even creepy, and could certainly be demons or ghosts or aliens. They could be parasitic monsters. I’m glad to see something that is supernatural that is not sucking the life out of humans. Most of the entities on Supernatural live off of humans in some way, since our souls are the brightest stars in the cosmos. Congratulations to the writers for including a less scary supernatural being. A big thumbs down for then slaughtering them.
The Road so Far reminds us that Sam and Dean have encountered unicorns, leprechauns, fairies and cupids, and has a bit about Sam’s visions.
A little girl is having tea with an imaginary friend. Her impatient parents are waiting to go to dinner. We see the imaginary friend, a unicorn man. He prods her to go to dinner with her folks and cleans up after them. That’s how I know for sure that he’s good. He’s not trying to separate her from real life experiences. While he is waiting, an unseen figure enters and stabs with him a blade with obscure writing on it, a sure sign that it is a magical weapon.
Sam wakes up to a visit from an old friend. It’s Sully, his imaginary friend from childhood. Imagine their surprise. He lets them know that his friend Sparkle was murdered. Sam vouches for Sully to Dean. Sam looks up the lore about the Zana. It’ s nice to see that the books are back in place and the card catalogue is useful.
Sam and Dean have a little problem getting into the house where Unicorn Man died. They can’t pretend to be FBI agents, as no one else has seen the murder but the little girl and Sully. They dress up as child psychologists, which means that they both look like Mr. Rogers.
After Sully touches their foreheads so they can see, the room is horrifying. Sparkly blood everywhere. The mom comes into the room and tidies up, smearing invisible blood everywhere and getting it on her face. It’s funny in a gruesome way.
There is another murder, a mermaid. They bury the body so that another child will not be traumatized and then go to see the mermaid’s imaginary boyfriend, Weems. He has had his own encounter with the knife, through sheets with stars on them that are hanging on the line. He was hanging up his kid’s sheets because he has accidents at night when he was stabbed. He did see a figure run away. We did, too. It’s a woman.
The boys and Sully arrive to find Weems injured. He says the knife went through his love handle, and he and Sully giggle over him being saved by fat. Dean goes to find the girl in the blue VW bug. Weems tells Sam he broke Sully’s heart when he was a kid. All along we’ve been getting flashbacks of their relationship. Sam left behind while Dean and their dad go hunting, with only Sully for company. Sam begging to go. Sam deciding to run away and Sully going with him, only to change his mind when he gets a call from their dad saying he’s ready to hunt with them. This is when he and Sully break up, because Sully insists this isn’t what Sam wants. So now they have a heart to heart, in real time. Sam apologizes and Sully says he thought he failed, but must not have, because Sam turned out so well. Sam tells Sully that he thinks God wants him to go into the cage with Lucifer in it.
Meanwhile, Dean gets knocked out and tied up by a mean looking girl. She texts Sam on Dean’s phone to tell him where they are and bring Sully.
When they show up, Sully recognizes her. Her twin sister Audrey died on Sully’s watch because she ran into the street after him. Reese, the mean girl, kept telling people that the sister ran after the imaginary man., but of course they didn’t believe her. She then studied and found out about the Zana and found a witch that sold her a spell to see them and a knife to kill them with. Sully offers to let her kill him if that’s what she needs. She is angry not only that her sister died but because Sully deserted her afterward. Evidently twins share imaginary friends. Sully ran away and quit taking care of children after the death. Reese doesn’t stop until Dean frees himself and tells her that revenge doesn’t work and that these aren’t monsters and he should know-and that Sully helped his little brother when he wasn’t there for him. (yes, when he failed as a parent at the ripe old age of thirteen). She and Sully hug and she drives off in the blue Volkswagen.
Sully tells Sam it’s okay to be scared but he has the guts to do what he needs to and they say goodbye. Sam tries to bring up the cage, again, on the way home. Dean says no, again. Sam says there may be no other way. I think Sam might be right because I don’t think Dean will be able to act against the Darkness and Sam is the one who was in the cage before and was Lucifer’s vessel.
Dean picked up the knife that kills imaginary friends, so that might figure into future episodes.
I found the episode upsetting and kind of off at first. Although I liked the fact that it had a non-violent solution, this girl had killed two innocent, sweet imaginary people and wounded a third. She traumatized a child for life. She seemed to enjoy hurting Sully by killing his friends. She threatened to kill Sam just to hurt Sully. And nothing happens to her. It seemed discriminatory against imaginary people. If she had killed two real live people, she would have had to have been killed or sent to jail.
She’s also scary. The actress did a good job with the out of control rage.
The imaginary friends are very human. They have relationships, take their jobs seriously, and have very little power. The only supernatural powers we see are controlling who can see them, telepathy, and playing air guitar, complete with sound. They can be killed and are non-violent. We don’t see any of them putting up a fight. They make mistakes. They feel badly when they do something bad, which is one way we know they are good. I was wrong in my prediction that they would be worse than Bing Bong and Drop Dead Fred. It was very hard to see that there was no justice for their wrongful deaths. (and makes you wonder-could there be a ghost Zana? Wrongful deaths lead to vengeful ghosts..and neither body was burned.)
However, in watching it again, I see that this is what Sully does and what the Zana do. They fix and support the children. They love them unconditionally. I think her rage is gone and she is not a danger to anyone anymore.
And it’s possible that she really did think they were evil, even though the witch told her they were good. Her story is the story of every hunter out there. She had a traumatic experience with the supernatural, learned about it, acquired weapons and fighting skills and went after it. In this way she is no different than Sam or Dean or their father or Bobby. She just happened to encounter the only supernatural being that is unquestionably nice.
So thank you very much, Supernatural, for traumatizing me with glittery blood and dead mermaids. I’m sure the images will eventually fade. I know this is only going to affect those of us who are not quite grown up and not children, because any parent who lets kids young enough to have imaginary friends watch the show needs to have their head examined. But I am glad to see a non-evil monster.
The next episode will be the mid-season finale and the Darkness returns.